Gold headed for the first weekly drop in three on concern that physical purchases may be slowing as investment holdings extend a drop. Platinum and palladium headed for a third week of gains in the best run since January.
Gold for immediate delivery was little changed at $1,459.29 an ounce at 9:27 a.m. in Singapore after losing as much as 0.4 percent to $1,452.83. The price is 0.8 percent lower this week, and a decline today would be the fourth losing session.
U.S. jobless claims fell to pre-recession levels, data showed yesterday, adding to concern that haven demand for gold will ebb as recovery takes hold. Holdings in exchange-traded products have lost 15 percent this year. Volumes for the benchmark cash contract in Shanghai sank to 13,511 kilograms yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the least since April 12, when bullion entered a bear market. The price touched $1,321.95 April 16, the lowest since January 2011.
“Gold’s had a good run after prices collapsed and is consolidating in this $1,400-$1,480 region,” said Yang Shandan, a senior trader at Cinda Futures Co., a unit of one of four funds in China created to buy bad debt from banks. “The market needs both retail and investment demand to come in strongly for prices to move back above $1,500.”
Bullion traders and analysts are divided on whether physical demand will sustain the rebound in prices as investors continue with sales from ETPs. Twelve people surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to advance next week, while 10 forecast a drop and five were neutral.
Gold for June delivery declined 0.8 percent to $1,457.10 an ounce on the Comex. While assets in ETPs gained 0.1 percent to 2,241.708 metric tons yesterday, rising for the first time since April 1, they are still poised for a 13th weekly loss, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest gold-backed ETP, expanded yesterday for the first time since March 19.
Silver gained 0.2 percent to $23.789 an ounce, paring a weekly drop. Platinum advanced 0.4 percent to $1,512.40 an ounce, while palladium dropped 0.3 percent to $707.55 an ounce.
Palladium’s deficit rose to the biggest in 11 years in 2012 as strike action in South African mines curbed supply and demand expanded, Thomson Reuters GFMS said on May 2. Platinum slipped into a shortage for the first time since 2004.
A South African labor union locked in a battle for dominance at local mines plans to hold separate wage talks on May 13 and 14 with Lonmin Plc and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. instead of mediating with the Chamber of Mines industry body.
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